Derbyshire mum who developed successful online business after mental health battle shortlisted for award
A Derbyshire mum who overcame her own mental health struggles to develop a successful online business has been shortlisted for a top award.
Six years ago, Sarah Cardwell from Eckington found herself spiralling deeper into a world full of anxiety and mental health issues.
After battling with constant mood swings and bouts of depression, she was eventually diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) in 2018 which, coupled with the death of her mum just a few years prior, left her suicidal and scared to leave her house.
She eventually decided to leave her job, and after noticing a post online, was able to establish herself on the career ladder with The Body Shop at Home which allowed her to concentrate on being a mum and tackle her mental health, all while still earning a decent wage.
Sarah, now aged 38, said: “I don’t think anyone talks about personality disorders enough. They are seen as scary and that’s definitely how I felt being diagnosed. In simple terms, my brain doesn’t work in the same way as everyone else’s. I feel more. I feel more sad and low, but also more happy and excited.
"The moods are very extreme and instead of a pattern or build up, it can rapidly change several times in a few hours.
“Going to work everyday just wasn’t possible. My days were mostly bad and the symptoms go further than low mood or lethargy.
“[Starting with The Body Shop] there was no pressure or targets or need to do anything. If I had a bad day and was in bed all day it didn’t matter. I wasn’t letting anyone down and on good days I could do as much as I liked, everything was flexible”.
Sarah now supports other members through ‘Region Purpose’, which she says pays homage to the fact that the job made her feel like she had a purpose in life.
In 2020, she was able to become a limited company and register for VAT and this April was finally discharged from her community mental health team having been with them since age 16.
She also helps other people with their mental health by sharing her story and tips on social media.
“I wanted to make £50 a month in the run up to Christmas. I wanted to buy the kids £100 each of presents in December 2018 then quit,” Sarah said.
"But I just loved it and I think people saw I was different and wanted to try it without the pressure or being told what to do. I share things that have worked for me, but that’s it.
“Now we welcome people not just in Sheffield, but all over the UK and now North America too. I can’t believe I have a global team. Region purpose is about helping others and always being kind.”
Sarah has recently been shortlisted for the ‘Best New Business - Retail’ award for Region Purpose at the UK Business Awards 2021.
She will find out if she has won at a virtual awards ceremony on Thursday, July 9.
"I don’t expect for a second to win, but to be shortlisted was incredible. I cried my eyes out,” Sarah added.